MIMA House is an exquisite dwelling manufactured in northern Portugal. It is unique for its ability to be reconfigured by the owners in project and also post-delivery. The interior walls consist of lightweight panels that can be easily relocated or removed by two people. Several years have been spent refining the concept in order to arrive at a finished product that would be quick to manufacture, easy to assemble, of good quality and affordable.
The house has a square plan with the four facades being nearly identical. Corner posts support the roof so that the intervening walls can be entirely glass. The exterior styling is unabashedly modern with clean lines and crisply folded edges.
The 36m2 (387.5 ft2) of inside floor area is divided into a 1.5m (4’11’’) grid by integrated tracks in the floor and ceiling. The interior wall system consists of frames that are snapped into place in the tracks. As a result, the rooms can be expanded or reduced in increments of 1.5 m. Finish panels are then attached to both sides of the wall frames. The finish panels are available in a variety of colors or wood veneer. They can have different colors on either side, so the decor of the house can be changed just by flipping the panels over. Similar panels can be used to cover the windows as needed for privacy or to block out unwanted sunlight and views.
MIMA started with the intention of planning a dwelling that responds directly to the lifestyle of nowadays’ societies. How can architecture adapt to the quick life changes and ambitions of a well informed and increasingly exigent society? MIMA architects researched for years to design a fast produced, flexible, light and cheap yet good quality product, wrapped up with a pleasant clean design.
More fundamentally, MIMA responds to the modern dream for clean sophisticated design and bright open spaces, launching in the housing market a dream 36 sqm dwelling which costs the same as a mid-range car.
MIMA’s concept is fundamentally inspired on the traditional Japanese house, the perfect paradigm for lightness, flexibility, comfort and pleasing lines. The restrained order of its standardized building parts appealed to MIMA architects as the hallmark of a deeply rooted culture, confirmed over centuries and easily adaptable to any new development.
MIMA uses prefabricated construction methods, the secret for its quick production and low price. Likewise, traditional Japanese residential post-and-beam construction could be considered inherently a system of prefabrication: it was based on regularized column spacing known as the ken, the infill elements of shoji screens, fusuma panels and tatami mats, prefabricated by individual craftsmen in different locations of Japan could be precisely put together almost like pieces of a puzzle.
MIMA consists of a square post-and- beam structure completely glazed on all sides, subdivided by modular 1.5mx3m wooden frames. MIMA houses come with additional plywood panels which can be placed on the inside and the outside of the building, for a replacement of any window by a wall in a matter of seconds.
The inside is defined by a regular grid of 1.5m, whose intermediate lines leave gaps for internal walls to be added when needed. Again, in a matter of seconds, a subdivided space can be replaced by an open space or vice versa. Moreover, each side of internal and external walls can have a different color/finishing, which allows a dramatic change through a simple wall rotation. Despite its standardized construction methods, MIMA houses can be customized in so many parameters, that you’ll hardly see two equal houses.
MIMA houses can be tested and customized any time at www.mimahousing.pt. A 3D software developed by MIMA’s architects and software engineers allows a recognition of your land through Google Earth and generates an automatic 3D model for a realistic perception of the house and site. This software allows for walking inside the house and defining the architectural finishes– external walls, internal divisions, materials and colors.
Project name: Mima House
Location: Viana do Castelo, Portugal
- Type By Characteristic: Prefab House, Green & Sustainable House
- Type By Site: n/a
- Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Wooden House
Project Area: 36 sqm
Project Year: 2011